Preface

Aarhus BSS is a top European, quality-driven, research-based school of business and social sciences committed to make a continuous impact on society and business through excellent research and education. As of 2017, Aarhus BSS in its entirety is a Triple Crown School (AACSB, AMBA and EQUIS).

Degree programmes and graduates in demand

In the previous strategy period, Aarhus BSS continued to have some of the most sought-after undergraduate programmes in the Danish university system and to host some of the most coveted Danish degree programmes from the perspective of employers and graduates alike – in terms of employment, salaries and career prospects.

Graduates and employees from Aarhus BSS remain attractive to our academic peers both nationally and internationally, and our alumni continue to swell the ranks of senior officers in both private and public organisations.

Rankings and funding

The academic fields and departments at Aarhus BSS consistently place very favourably in international academic rankings.

  • External research funding at Aarhus BSS in 2019-2020 (two calendar years) was up by 70 per cent compared to 2015-2016 and is edging close to DKK 300 million per year.
  • In 2019-2020, external funding from private sources more than doubled compared to 2015-2016 and now stands at some DKK 90 million per year.
  • Funding from the EU was up from less than DKK 10 million per year in 2015-2016 to about DKK 60 million per year in 2019-2020.

We successfully attract funding from the Danish National Research Foundation (DNRF), and Aarhus BSS is the host of its third DNRF Centre of Excellence (the Centre for the Experimental-Philosophical Study of Discrimination, CEPDISC) and a DNRF Chair (in Economics).

Under the EU Horizon 2020 programme, Aarhus BSS has attracted an ERC Synergy Grant as well as several ERC Consolidator Grants.

International recruitment

Aarhus BSS recruitment of international faculty (professors, associate professors and assistant professors) has progressed steadily, and international faculty was up from 20 per cent in 2016 to 31 per cent in 2020. At the end of 2020, the tally was approximately 160 international faculty members from 30 countries.

Increased use of tenure track employment at the junior level is key to international recruitment, and the number of assistant professors in tenure track positions increased from 10 at the end of 2016 to 23 at the end of 2020.

The Aarhus BSS Graduate School (PhD training) has seen an increase in the annual number of qualified applicants from 328 in 2016 to 563 in 2020 – an increase of more than 70 per cent.

Adapting and learning

Development of teaching activities

The end of the previous strategy period 2017-2020 coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic from early 2020, and the strategy was extended to cover 2021. In March 2020, Aarhus BSS faculty, staff and students managed to convert a largely analogue educational set-up involving 1,000 employees and 20,000 students into a pure online format in the space of 72 hours. Despite external stop-and-go regulation since mid-March 2020, the educational output of Aarhus BSS remains largely unaffected by the summer of 2021 (as measured by the number of passing grades and graduating students).

Contributions to research on COVID-19

Aarhus BSS researchers managed to attract substantial external funding for COVID-19-related research and were able to contribute significantly to the research-based advice given to policy-makers since March 2020. In particular, Aarhus BSS researchers have advised the Danish government on matters of population sentiment and opinion, behaviour during the pandemic, economics, public governance, and the law – both when this advice was welcome and when it was less so.

Rebounding from the pandemic

Aarhus BSS expects to rebound from COVID-19 quickly, retaining and adopting useful lessons from the pandemic in relation to education, research and administration, while at the same time shedding “the new normal” and putting the pandemic behind us. We will return to being a campus university but with enhanced digital competencies.

Efforts in the years to come

Interdisciplinarity and collaboration

We commit to academic excellence and this obliges us to provide viable answers to societal challenges. For this reason, we must reinforce the academic interchange between business and social science and broaden our collaboration with core disciplines at Aarhus University as well as with international peers. So far, several interdisciplinary centres have been formed to harness the academic strengths across the school, including the Crown Prince Frederik Center for Public Leadership, the Centre for Integrative Business Psychology (CIBP), the Platform for Inequality Research at Aarhus University (PIREAU) and the Centre for Energy Technologies (CET).

Graduates and employability

Our graduates form the future workforce and create value for society and stakeholders. Therefore, it is essential that we are persistent and focused on retaining our students and increasing the employability of our graduates.

Internationalisation of degree programmes

The internationalisation of degree programmes and the student body is challenged mainly by current Danish legislation. At present, it is difficult for Aarhus BSS to develop programmes in English and attract more national and international students to these – despite the strategic aspirations of the school. To overcome this challenge, we will direct our efforts at retaining our international students on the Danish labour market upon graduation.

Gender equality and talent pool

As many universities and schools, Aarhus BSS remains challenged in terms of faculty gender composition. Only about one third of tenured faculty (professors and associate professors) are women, whereas women and men are equally balanced in the Aarhus BSS student body and among junior faculty (assistant professors). To reach our goal of the highest possible quality, it is of utmost importance that Aarhus BSS and Aarhus University succeed to attract talent and to eliminate barriers that restrict access to the entire talent pool.

Introduction

During the strategy period 2021-2026, research and research-based degree programmes within the core disciplines of business, including business technology, and social sciences still form the backbone of the Aarhus BSS strategy.

We will continue to develop our well-established educational brands and explore relevant collaboration within and between our disciplines, bringing social sciences into business and vice versa. Our academic portfolio spanning business and social sciences – our two foundational disciplines – along with select interdisciplinary initiatives created in the mix of our core disciplines allows us to advance knowledge across academic fields.

This approach keeps us competitive and at the forefront as a provider of skilled graduates and scientific breakthroughs.

Strategic goals

Our strategy aligns with that of Aarhus University, which sets new and higher goals for academic development and the scope of national and international collaboration.

Aarhus BSS will continue to enhance its position as a quality-driven institution characterised by high international standards within research, education and collaboration. With intensified competition for resources and students, it is the strategic objective for Aarhus BSS to be visible and known for its research and teaching in both academia and the public at large in Denmark and abroad.

Our ability to attract and develop talented employees and students is a prerequisite for our success, and therefore we offer our students and employees a vibrant physical campus, as well as an inspiring study environment and attractive workplace.

Developing the strategy

Emerging from a collaborative approach and the previous 2017-2021 strategy, our emphasis on high-quality academic research and educational results combined with an international outlook and close ties to external stakeholders remain the most important drivers in our quest to deliver graduates and research that make a positive impact on societal innovation, growth, welfare and sustainability.

Our professional administrative staff play a key role in this by supporting our academic departments with responsive, flexible and coherent administrative services in alignment with our strategic objectives.

Value proposition

The ambition is to increase the quality of all our academic endeavours, to gradually adapt our educational portfolio to societal demands, and to continuously recruit and train the requisite employees and students. 

Mission

To offer high-quality research and research-based education within and across the fields of business and social sciences, and produce highly skilled graduates who will form the future workforce and create value for society and stakeholders.

Vision

We contribute to the conditions for society’s welfare and development by aspiring to the highest international quality in education, research and collaboration.

Implementation

Aarhus BSS monitors the implementation of this strategy closely. We conduct a strategic planning process on a yearly basis, in which all departments develop a whitepaper outlining activities and priorities for the coming year in alignment with the strategic objectives of Aarhus BSS. The department whitepapers include a data-based follow-up on metrics regarding education, research and collaboration. Following this, the faculty management team meets for a strategy seminar and selects a set of priorities for the coming year based on these whitepapers.

This approach allows Aarhus BSS to adapt swiftly to any changes in its framework conditions, thus increasing its contribution to society. Aarhus BSS merges its strategic planning process with the strategy implementation at Aarhus University and with quality assurance practises.

Focus areas

Five annual priorities at Aarhus BSS 2021/2022

1.

To develop and contribute to relevant collaborations (education and research) within and between the core disciplines of business and social science – bringing business into social science and vice versa, e.g. by establishing a new major platform on inequality (PIREAU) and the Centre for Integrative Business Psychology (CIBP).


2.

To harvest the best of the COVID19-disruption and develop new ways of teaching, balancing physical attendance on campus and utilisation of digital opportunities.


3.

To target and reduce the 1-year drop-out.


4.

To increase employability of international Aarhus BSS graduates.


5.

To develop the programme portfolio and student admissions at the Department of Business Development and Technology (BTECH) with a point of departure in business, business development and business technology.